A house burns. / REUTERS

More than 350 soldiers and police deployed to 'control' the La Palma volcano situation

Some personnel have travelled from Andalucia to join the efforts to fight the fires sparked by the eruption and the advance of the lava, and patrol the security zone

MATEO BALÍN

More than 350 members of Spain's Military Emergency Unit (UME), the Army and Guardia Civil officers have already landed on the island of La Palma following the eruption of the volcano in the Cabeza de Vaca area, in the town of El Paso, on Sunday.

The reinforcements were sent by sea and air to "control" the evolution of the volcano and the advance of the lava.

The extra personnel have arrived from the neighbouring islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, and from Seville in Andalucía. In addition to reinforcing the two-kilometre security zone, they will tackle fires sparked by the lava flows and evacuate properties that could be affected by the magma.

The UME, at the request of the Government of the Canary Islands, was activated on Sunday afternoon. The 184 troops deployed come from the Gando base, in Gran Canaria, Los Rodeos (Tenerife) and the Morón barracks, in Seville. According to military sources, its initial task will be to control the fires as lava spews from the eight open ‘mouths’ in the area of the volcano.

Pedro Sánchez discovers the situation first-hand on La Palma this Monday, 20 September. / R.C.

Spain’s Ministry of the Interior is also boosting the Canarian emergency services with more than 120 Guardia Civil officers including traffic patrols, a maritime patrol, a mountain rescue and intervention unit (GREIM) and a helicopter unit.

In addition, more firefighters have been sent to the area.

"There are enough troops to face any contingency," said prime minister Pedro Sánchez, who urged the public to remain “calm”.